How To Turn Negative Into Positive

Parker was a precocious child who loved to play the piano. 

Then one day, she wasn’t. 

It was frustrating. She went from playful to pessimistic in a matter of weeks.

I was flummoxed.

How had she suddenly become difficult? It didn’t matter what I said, she didn’t want to do it.

I needed something persuasive.

I took ten $1 Music Money bills and put them on the piano.

“Parker,” I said, “These are yours to keep.” 

She smiled.

“Or yours to lose.”

She looked concerned.

“Every time you say something negative, you’ll lose a dollar. If you make it through the entire lesson without saying something like ‘Oh, that’s looks HARD’ or ‘I don’t think I can do that’ then you’ll have $10.”

“Pretty cool!” she said.

“But if I hear you say anything negative, like ‘I don’t think I can do that’ you’ll lose a dollar.”

“OK!” she said positively.

I pulled out a new piece.

She eyed it suspiciously.

“That looks…” (She started to say ‘way too hard’ – but stopped herself.)

“That looks…challenging.” Big grin. “And I LIKE a challenge!”


In my studio, when someone becomes a bit negative, I use Parkerization. I use it whenever I need to show a student just how negative they’ve become without turning them even MORE negative.

Once I had another student request it.

“Diane,” she said, frustrated. “I think I need to be Parkerized!”

Perhaps one of your students could benefit from a little Parkerization?

Nightingale from  Attention Grabbers Book Two .

Nightingale from Attention Grabbers Book Two.


The sweet piece “Nightingale” is dedicated to Parker. It’s in Attention Grabbers Book Two. It’s a piece designed to sound like it uses pedal, but doesn’t actually use the pedal until the last two measures.